[ si-vil-i-tee ]
/ sɪˈvɪl ɪ ti /

noun, plural ci·vil·i·ties.

courtesy; politeness.
a polite action or expression: an exchange of civilities.
Archaic. civilization; culture; good breeding.

Origin of civility

1350–1400; Middle English civilite < Middle French < Latin cīvīlitāt- (stem of cīvīlitās) courtesy. See civil, -ity
Related formso·ver·ci·vil·i·ty, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for civility

British Dictionary definitions for civility


/ (sɪˈvɪlɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

politeness or courtesy, esp when formal
(often plural) an act of politeness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for civility



late 14c., "status of a citizen," from Old French civilite (14c.), from Latin civitatem (nominative civitas) "the art of governing; courteousness," from cvilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous" (see civil). Later especially "good citizenship" (1530s). Also "state of being civilized" (1540s); "behavior proper to civilized persons" (1560s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper